Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down

Following a disappointing run that had lasted nearly a decade, Marilyn Manson made a fairly compelling (if not completely convincing) comeback with 2015’s The Pale Emperor. This not-quite-return-to-form also seemed to coincided with a stabilisation and cleaning up of the troubled shock rocker’s personal life, and it caused a stir among those who had all but written off the former “antichrist superstar,” leaving many wondering whether that album would prove to be a one-off glimpse of his former greatness or if he was capable of pulling-off a similar feat in the future. Although hopes remained high, alarm bells began to ring when it was announced that the follow-up to that record would be titled “Say10” and was slated for release on Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, that potentially embarrassing set of circumstances never came to fruition. The release was pulled with little fanfare or explanation—eventually emerging eight months later under the considerably less sophomoric title Heaven Upside Down, on the nondescript date of October 6 (although the first single being released on September 11 seems hardly coincidental). It eventually emerged that Manson was unhappy with the release in it’s earlier form and three extra tracks—it’s beginning, central and ending numbers—were added in the interim before its eventual release. The one-time “god of fuck” appears to have made the right call because, while Heaven Upside Down remains a far cry from the output of his glory period, it also provides further evidence that there’s still more than a little bit of Satanic gas left in his proverbial tank. Unfortunately, it also proves to be a release underpinned by a number of regrettable circumstances and uncomfortable revelations.

99 – Sacred Son ft. Dane Cross

So, we mentioned the Sacred Son artwork controversy before. The chill artwork for the very real black metal album drew some ire, so we got the man behind the curtain to join us and tell it all. And it was a good time! We talk about the artwork (of course), but also the project itself, Dane’s views on the black metal scene and more. Eden and I then discuss new material from Augury, First Fragment, Cavalera Conspiracy (check out my retrospective), Leander Kills and The Kindred. We also discuss Metalsucks’s legal assessment of the Decapitated case, Marilyn Manson’s onstage accident, and Between the Buried and Me reacquiring the rights to their older material. Then we have a cool people section about some stuff, including the Netflix documentary Long Shot, Total War: Warhammer II, Annihilation (the movie), Blade Runner 2049 and the upcoming Dune movie.

Connecting the Dots // The Dillinger Escape Plan

It’s been a while, but we’re back, so welcome to another edition of Connecting the Dots, and today we will be focusing on mathcore masterminds The Dillinger Escape Plan! Whilst they’re soon going to be shutting up shop (R.I.P), we can remain eternally grateful to the incredible records they’ve released during their two-decade career, their vicious live performances, and the incredible other musical projects they leave in their wake. Without further ado, let’s dive into the amazing projects these musicians have been a part of.

Street Sects – Rat Jacket

We’ve already vilified ourselves for missing Street Sects’s 2016 monster End Position, and if you haven’t heard it either, feel free to go spin the record now and share in our shame. The duo of multi-instrumentalist Shaun Ringsmuth and vocalist Leo Ashline came through with an exceptional dose of hyper-aggressive synth punk on End Position, making a bold statement in a genre defined by intensifying punk and its offshoots’ many disparate mannerisms. Not only was the album a debut that far exceeded the benchmark for a successful freshman full-length, it received well-deserved praise from the fickle beast that is the indie blogosphere. Perhaps the album’s success can be attributed to endorsement of well-respected “dark music” label The Flenser, or it could be due to the growing acceptance of heavy music as part of “normal” music consumption. However, there’s one undisputed factor for End Positions’s success, being the album’s undeniably impressive blend of industrial music and hardcore punk in a way that synth punk hasn’t seen done this well before. Seriously, if you haven’t heard this record, stop reading and go listen to it now; I won’t be offended, I promise.

The Devil’s Roots: The Satanic Summary

When I started The Devil’s Roots, it was with the intention of exploring the myriad of Satanic belief systems metal encompasses in order to distinguish their differences and find out if there is anything that unifies them. Since then, I’ve discovered that even though each school does contain a specific set of individual ideas, most do share the common theme of valuing free thinking. Like the multiple branches of Satanism itself, for the most part the Dark Lord is a metaphor for autonomy and the rejection of religious establishment having any impact or influence on our lives. A few extreme right-wing interpretations aside, I think the Devil’s influence in metal has been a positive one; His name is used to inspire individuality and symbolic poetry which has made for some pretty stellar music. And the fact that artists have used it to rifle a few feathers has only added to metal’s irresistible rebellious allure.

The Devil’s Roots: LaVeyan Satanism In Metal

In America during the 1960s, times they were o’ changing. Rock n’ roll was huge, Beatlemania was runnin’ wild, the Civil Rights Movement was changing the world, hippies were doing drugs and having sex all over the place, and other countercultures that opposed televangelism and conservatism in favour of individualism and free thinking were suddenly more popular than ever. Times like these also afforded men like the Church of Satan’s founder Anton LaVey to become mainstream celebrities, both feared and adorned, and if there’s one man that was essential in the emergence of Satanic philosophy becoming known in the public consciousness, it’s Lavey.

The Devil’s Roots: Thelema in Metal

If a poster was created of famous devil-worshippers then Aleister Crowley’s face would no doubt be near the front and center. Despite not actually being a Satanist, Crowley’s “wicked’’ deeds placed him in league with the Dark Lord in the eye’s of the public back in his heyday. However, he was a practitioner of Thelema, a spiritual philosophy of self-empowerment that’s often lumped in with the glorification of evil much like Satanism has been throughout the years. And like old Beelzebub, Crowley and heavy metal fit together like a hand in glove, and his influence in heavy music can be traced all the way back to the genre’s earliest years.

Stepping Stone: Ministry – Psalm 69

Today, I’m going to explore an album that was a huge influence on me in high school that I haven’t listened to in some time: Ministry’s Psalm 69, released in 1992 on the Sire/Warner Bros label, and considered not only one of the best Ministry albums, but also one of the most essential industrial metal albums ever.